How to Explain Divorce to Young Children

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Divorce is often hardest on children, particularly if they are too young to fully understand what is going on. Plan on having several short talks with your children over the course of 1 or 2 weeks--it usually takes time to process everything that's happening. Here are some tips for helping them understand what your divorce means and how it will affect them.

Stick to the Basics

Young children don't need to know every detail of why you and your ex are splitting up. Focus on the facts that directly concern them, like where Mom and Dad will be living and how often they’ll be able to see each parent. It's usually enough to explain the changes that will happen without going into detail about the reasons behind those changes.

Don't Assign Blame

It's important to remember that in most cases, your children will continue to see both you and your ex on a regular basis after your divorce. Don't blame them for continuing to love your ex, and avoid saying negative things about him or her when you're explaining your divorce. It's extremely important that your children understand that both parents still love them and will continue to care for them.

Encourage Communication

When you explain divorce to young children, encourage them to be open about their emotions. Tell them that it's all right to be sad, confused, or even angry. If they are able to communicate their emotions, they'll be reassured that you still love them no matter what. You may even be able to work together to come up with ways to make the transition easier on them.

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